A campaign to bring back flights from Aberdeen International Airport to London Gatwick has received a major boost as the UK Government Transport Secretary has agreed to look into it.
Grant Shapps will make sure the route becomes a “particular focus” of the ongoing UK review of regional air connectivity after discussing the issue with Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid.
The talks followed a petition signed by more than 5,000 people calling for the reinstatement of the Aberdeen-Gatwick flight axed by Easyjet last November.
The UK Government announced last month it was reviewing regional air connectivity across the country.
Aviation Minister Paul Maynard said the plans were part of the Government’s “levelling up” agenda to drive economic growth outwith London and the South East.
Campaigner Val Fry welcomed this news and hoped that it could lead to the flights being reinstated.
She said: “This is amazing news for us as it could bring us a step closer to what we want.
“When we started this campaign we wanted to see how far we can get but did not know how much influence we would have.
“We have received incredible support from our local MP and from Steve (Szalay) at the airport as well. Let’s hope we can get it reinstated at some point.”
Easyjet has previously said they will not be bringing back the flights because it is not “financially viable” for them.
That is despite 5,084 people signing the online petition.
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Steve Szalay, managing director at Aberdeen International Airport, has also thrown his support behind the petition.
He said: “We welcome Mr Duguid meeting with the Transport Secretary and giving the people of the north-east a chance to have their say.
“We are working closely with Easyjet and other airlines in an attempt to win back this much-loved route.”
Mr Duguid said: “I had a very positive meeting with the Transport Secretary about regional connectivity and how important it is to the north-east economy.
“Mr Shapps confirmed to me that connections between Aberdeen and London – and to Gatwick in particular – would be given particular focus in the review following my representations.”
A UK Government spokeswoman confirmed the route would be looked at. She added: “Last month the Government announced a review of regional connectivity and part of this work will include a review of Air Passenger Duty (APD) to ensure regional connectivity is strengthened while meeting the UK’s climate change commitments to meet net zero by 2050.”